Monday, January 07, 2013

Semester Reflections

"Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead." --Unknown

I'm writing with my students today.  It's been awhile since I've done that.  Years ago, I did it all the time.  Actually kept a journal in my classroom and wrote whenever I had them write.  I got away from it for some reason and have missed it.  Today, at the beginning of a new semester, I've resolved to get back to it.

So it's 1:10 p.m.  I have 16 sophomores in the room, heads bent over the page reflecting on the past semester.  What are things that worked in your academic life?  What are things that need work this new semester?  What will you do to assure success in 2013?  I love the sounds of thinking!  It's a beautiful thing to see and hear.

And what is it that I saw and heard from them last semester?  And what did they see and hear from me?  We learned to write from the ground up.  Bit by bit, piece by piece, we learned how to build an essay.  For some, it was easy.  The words flowed easily and smoothly.  There was no struggle to let them loose from their mind.  Others had to fight--with themselves, with those around them, with the distractions that are part of an active classroom.  But they learned.  And so did I.

There are always things that I know for sure work.  And then there are those I need to work on.  It's sometimes hard for me to explain something that comes so easily for me.  Not that writing is easy.  But I know how to do it...  So I have to try to remember what it's like to not know.  And sometimes that frustration keeps me from doing my best.  That's what I will work to improve this semester.

Now, it's nearly 2:30 and I have the AP class with me.  This is a full classroom of juniors and seniors.  With them, I want to do more serious academic writing and thinking.  We've had a good semester, and they've done well, but we need to start focusing on the test prep.  I don't like teaching to a test.  Something in me rebels against that.  I don't know what exactly.  I like the freedom to determine what is important for my students and that takes it all away from me.  Which may be what frustrates me.  I am far more interested in the content of their characters than in the content of their essays!  But that makes it a little difficult to take an AP test if all I've done with them is develop who they are . . . and not what others think they should know.


Sunny said...

Rondi, great posts...I think. Can you change the color of the script. That light blue is too hard for me to see, and, I want to catch up on my reading. Tx

Rondi said...

There you go MB! Sorry for the eye strain!